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‘Middle school should be a nice, kind place’

Public speaking students work to reduce bullying

Lowell Middle School students inform their classmates about how to prevent bullying. Video courtesy of Matthew Laura

Lowell — Students in Lowell Middle School’s public speaking and drama class used their theatrical skills to create an anti-bullying video for their peers.

“Bullying makes you feel …” started eighth-grader Lily Dyer as part of one skit performed in the school hallway. 

Her classmates ended the sentence with: “Less about who you are as a person.” “Small.” “Like you don’t matter.” “Bad about yourself” and “Like no one cares.”

The video, which will be shown school-wide during advisory time, is part of school-wide efforts for National Bullying Prevention Month. Art students are creating signs, teachers are presenting lessons and the school community is wearing orange on October 18 for Unity Day, the month’s signature event. Students will also attend a presentation and receive red glasses from Kelly Jandernoa, author of the Red Glasses Movement, an effort to “inspire the world to live boldly, love big, and pass it on.”

“Middle school should be a nice, kind place where people can learn and enjoy school, where they don’t feel outcasted or separated from the rest of society,” said eighth-grader Kole Woodhead. “It’s nice to feel like I’m part of this.”

Matthew Laura, coordinator of student support, recorded and produced the video. He said October is often the month for the most behavior referrals in schools, so it’s a good time to build awareness.  

“The more we can get students involved, the more it will sink in,” he said. “We can spout anti-bullying messages to them all day every day and do different lessons, but if they are not actively taking a part in it and understanding their role in preventing bullying, it’s not going to create change.”

Read more from Lowell: 
History: complicated, norms: fluid, empathy: paramount
Strumming my six string (made in fourth hour)

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is managing editor and reporter, covering Kentwood, Lowell and Wyoming. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013, and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio


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